‘Varsity Blues’ Mastermind Sentenced to Federal Prison

Rick Singer, ringleader in a college admissions bribery scandal spanning the country, was sentenced to 42 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $19 million.
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  • Rick Singer was sentenced to 42 months in federal prison and three years supervised release.
  • Singer was charged with racketeering conspiracy, money laundering, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy to defraud the United States in 2019.
  • It is the longest prison sentence in a case that has become known as "Operation Varsity Blues."

William “Rick” Singer, the mastermind of a massive college admissions cheating scandal known as "Operation Varsity Blues," was sentenced Wednesday to 42 months in federal prison.

Singer was a California-based independent college admissions counselor who operated the Edge College & Career Network (known as "The Key"), his college counseling business, along with the Key Worldwide Foundation, a nonprofit he established as a charitable organization.

He was the mastermind in a nationwide college admission scam in which wealthy families paid Singer some $25 million to get their children into top-tier schools, such as Stanford University, Yale University, the University of Southern California, and Georgetown University. Singer helped his clients' children get into these colleges through the "side door" by helping them cheat on standardized tests and bribing test proctors, college coaches, and university administrators.

Singer pleaded guilty in March 2019 to racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the US and obstruction of justice.

NPR reported Wednesday that Singer's cooperation with the government's investigation enabled them to charge over 50 people, including actors Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.

In addition to serving 42 months in federal prison, Singer must also serve three years of supervised release and pay over $19 million.

His is the longest prison sentence in the "Varsity Blues" saga.

According to NPR and the U.S. Attorney's Office, about two-thirds of those found guilty in the scam served less than three months, and many served no time.